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GOLF

Clinic at Augusta Followed by One Locally

April 12, 2001|PETER YOON

Tiger Woods reached the pinnacle of the golf world last weekend with his historic victory at the Masters, but Saturday he intends to show that he hasn't forgotten where he came from.

Woods, who became the first golfer to hold all four modern major tournament titles at the same time when he won at Augusta, will return to his roots to conduct a junior clinic at El Dorado Park Golf Course in Long Beach.

The event, part of a series of four junior clinics to be conducted by the Tiger Woods Foundation this year, is by invitation only and is not open to the public.

"Through the game of golf, I've learned about discipline, honesty and integrity," Woods said. "I want to share as much of this as I can to help today's kids reach for their dreams, whatever those dreams may be."

Patrick Barry, spokesman for the event, said Woods selected Long Beach as a site because he grew up in nearby Cypress and played much of his early golf at the par-three Heartwell Golf Course in Long Beach.

"It's a nice homecoming for Tiger," Barry said. "This was one of the closest courses to him during his boyhood."

Woods will work one-on-one with each of 25 pre-selected players before beginning the main exhibition for 2,500 mostly disadvantaged kids.

He plans to discuss the rules and etiquette of the game, delivering a motivational address on the principles that have helped shape his career, and then will offer a demonstration of golf shots.

After a question-and-answer session, Woods will attempt to make a 190-yard hole-in-one. If he succeeds, the Tiger Woods Foundation will receive a $1-million donation.

"It's a real treat for the kids to see Tiger," Barry said. "Especially here where he started."

The day will end with a dinner and auction, where Woods will recognize Sean Washington with the foundation's Local Hero Award. Washington is the creator of an after-school program titled Preparing for a Degree, a program designed to improve study habits, time management and self-reliance.

CHA-CHING

When Woods picked up his $1,008,000 check for winning the Masters, it marked the fifth time in his career he had won $1 million or more in a single event.

Not bad, considering the PGA Tour has given out only 10 such checks.

NEXT?

Woods plans to take the next three weeks off and will return for the Byron Nelson Classic in Texas May 10-13.

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW?

The LPGA Tour Office Depot Hosted by Amy Alcott beginning today at Wilshire Country Club is the first LPGA Tour event in Los Angeles since Rancho Park held the event in 1989. The tour has stopped in Glendale, Buena Park and Simi Valley since then, but has avoided L.A.

Don't get used to it. The LPGA has a one-year agreement with Wilshire, and is looking into other courses.

"I'm pretty much focused on what will happen up to this Saturday," said tournament director Laurie Peterson. "After that, I'll start thinking about next year."

City of Hope, which brought the tournament here from South Carolina, has a three-year agreement to hold the tournament in the Los Angeles area.

A DIFFERENT LOOK

Wilshire is an unusual stop on the tour for two reasons: It ends Saturday and has a par-three finishing hole.

The Saturday finish is required so the club's annual Easter egg hunt will not be disrupted.

"Easter is a big family day here," Peterson said. "The club was gracious enough to let us play here, so we tried to accommodate them."

The par-three 18th is a result of a course reconfiguration designed to give fans and those in corporate tents a better view. The Wilshire members end on a par four, but there isn't room for tents and bleachers around that green, so it has become the 17th.

The par-three 18th, the only par-three finishing hole on tour this year, is the 10th hole for members.

WATCH WHAT YOU SAY

Amy Alcott, the tournament host for the Office Depot, will wear a microphone for ESPN during the tournament. This will be the first time ESPN has so equipped an LPGA Tour player.

LIKE TAKING CANDIE

USC sophomore Candie Kung isn't saying so, but all indications are that she will turn professional after the NCAA championships next month.

"I don't know yet," Kung said. "I'm still thinking about it."

Kung, who has a sponsor's exemption for the Office Depot, certainly appears ready.

Ranked third in the nation, she has finished out of the top four only once in eight college tournaments this year. She won the Pacific 10 Conference title as a freshman and will defend that title April 23-25 at Arizona.

What's more, Kung, a graduate of Fountain Valley High, already has a place to play as a pro. She gained full exemption on the Futures Tour by placing sixth in the tour qualifying school in November.

The top three finishers on the final Futures Tour money list earn an exemption on the LPGA for next year.

SENIOR SLAM?

Hale Irwin has won a Senior PGA Tour-record 30 tournaments, including six major championships, but one senior tour major championship has eluded him: the Countrywide Tradition.

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